Homily: Pentecost

One of the greatest aims of this retreat is to come to know the Lord's peace. Unfortunately, to know this we must also know dis-peace. The world's idea of peace, so bandied about when I was a youth, is rather cowardice, laziness, "getting along". It was very easy then to have peace if you were a blond-haired surfer.
The Lord's peace has much to do with forgiveness. If we forgive, we have peace. This text, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them" is often used as a proof-text for the sacrament of confession. But this is a power, no, a command, to all Christians. All of us are commanded to bring forgiveness into the world.
This really is part of the good news: we all are sinners, every last one of us. All people are sinning all the time, well almost all the time. The world feels screwed up, because it is screwed up. You feel screwed up, because you are screwed up. The greatest thing about the Catholic Church is that it reminds people of their sinfulness. The Church is very concerned with reality. There's a Zen proverb, not Christian, but wise, that says, "Life is like going out on the ocean, in a boat you know is going to sink." The world tries to deceive itself, saying everything's all right. People tell themselves, "Well, my boat is bigger is bigger than your boat"...but still, it's going to sink. The world is so deluded. A few weeks ago on the front page of The Denver Post there were hundreds of people in front of the Capitol Building getting stoned off their gourds. One of my friends, a medical doctor, said most people are on mood-altering drugs for depression or mental illness. Well, that's what the Chinese did in the 19th century: "let's give everyone opium". That will bring peace. This is just another one of my hair-brained theories, but I think much mental illness is caused by a lack of forgiveness.
So part of the good news is the good news of original sin. We're all subject to it, so there's no need to hide it, pretend it doesn't exist. Admitting something's wrong seems to be a cardinal sin here in the midwest. "How's it going?" "Oh, it's fine, just fine."
This pace that Jesus gives us is realistic, it acknowledges that much may be wrong without us, but I have peace despite this because Jesus is the Lord of my life.
Confession is my favourite Sacrament; that's why I became a priest. I love being able to absolve people, bringing them forgiveness. I love hearing confessions; well, not hearing them, but giving absolution.
We are forgiven sinners, bringing forgiveness to a world of sinners.

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